Archive for April, 2012

The compliment Theory

It seems that most folks, whether they are famous or not – artists, writers or just the average Joe – are reluctant to accept compliments without expressing some reservations or questioning the motives behind them.

Why did that person compliment me? I don’t know them! What do they want? Why would they do that?

We are, for better or worse, a skeptical bunch nowadays. Rather than our first instinct be to say, “Thank you,” it becomes an inner inquiry: “What does the person who made the compliment get out of saying that?”

As sad as it makes me to have my motivations be under this type of indirect assault, I forge ahead with my mission to spread honest, ego-boosting, reassuring, and occasionally humorous compliments to people around me. I take into consideration that my motives & sincerity will often be questioned, but have found if I stay consistent with my complimentary nature, after a period of time, people tend to recognize that I’m either completely mental but (mostly) harmless, or I’m simply a nice person wishing to spread confidence, laughter, and joy to others. Santa’s got his bag of toys; I’ve got a million ways to say, “You rock.”
For me, it all begin during my training for a customer service position when I realized one of my talents is forming sincere & honest compliments to bestow on tired, pissed-off customers. I realized that by doing so, I provided that person some relief to the constant negativity that bombards most of us daily. Back then, there was definitely an ulterior, self-serving motive behind the compliments: I was trying to appease my customers. However, when I left the job, I found I missed forming & giving compliments. So, I set up a challenge to my self to compliment people who looked like they needed a lift, smile, or laugh every day, with no motive or expectations.
After seven years of doing this, as my tiny way of trying to make the world a little bit happier, I have learned to adjust to the type of reception I get from people. Most responses I receive are surprise combined with disbelief, but the recipients are generally appreciative. It’s a nice, unexpected little surprise in someone’s day.

My favorite responses are generally from men who assume I’m coming on to them. I must admit I chuckle when that happens; it’s not just far from the truth of why I offer these compliments, and I really do have more game than that (since how obvious would that tactic be)? However, it does provide a stepping-off point for some back and forth between that I enjoy. It’s resulted in some decent friendships once the guys catch on that the conversation is not quite progressing in that direction, but remains enjoyable.

Over the past year (since losing my father in June), I’ve found myself specifically seeking out talented writers and playing cheerleader for them on twitter. I was shocked to find so many new talented writers, gifted with sheer genius and the self-esteem regarding their writing existing at the level of a high school student. My father was a published poet and being my father’s little writing cheerleader, I found a new purpose of my complimentary mission to encourage these artists. But Perhaps, since my father was a poet and a published writer, I was casting about for comfort and trying to regain this lost connection with the people who play skillfully with language.

And so, over the past couple of months, I seem to have wavered from the ostensible purity of my mission, and there has been some motive behind the compliments I’ve given. I don’t feel that I have failed, or misled anyone; it took a minor epiphany on my part to realize what I’d been doing subconsciously.

The joy of being able to compliment anyone, for any reason, really is its own reward, at least for me. Why not give it a try for yourself?



Casual Heartache

Ever find yourself caught in an impossible situation with your heart? Why is it necessary for your heart and mind to argue constantly about everything that happens in your life? Do they ever reach a logical conclusion or just a reasonable compromise?
At 41 years of age, I still can’t figure this out. Despite not being the brightest bulb in the box, my mind craves logical solutions to love and relationships. It is very quick to point out all the pro’s and con’s to whether taking any actions towards another person is a wise choice.
But my heart is the fry missing out of the happy meal box. It never fails to produce those lovely rock and a hard place situations. Foolish, stupid, and down right embarrassing words and/or actions follow when allowing it off the leash.  At that point, my mind is screaming like bullhorn. Making any attempt to halt possible damage, my mind tries to hog tie my heart. But it usually is like wrestling a pig in mud. My damn heart is too slippery which causes my mind to simply says fuck this and gets a beer.
So what eventually saves me, my attitude towards pain. Bring it on! I dig it! Nothing better than pain with pleasure so it all works out in the end! Or I’m really mental, so it doesn’t matter anyway, right?

Once again, I find myself troubled with current issues concerning the treatment of female authors in society today and gender issues overall. A friend of mine sent me a very thought-provoking blog yesterday. This blog discussed the current troubles women in general face in the private & public world. Not wanting to comment without the facts unless I already have a sound grasp on the issue, I did some digging. After reading 15 or so blogs relating to this subject, not to mention author tweets and google searches, I found myself saddened and a little confused.
Striving to be an open-minded person, the old saying, “Never judge a book by its cover”, constantly provokes thoughts of how rampantly this wisdom is ignored. I constantly reign in angry responses when encountering this idiotic way of treating people. How odd to run into this very annoying attitude when discussing gender equality or perhaps that should be expected, right?
Isn’t that the exact problem not only women, but men face today in discussing the rights & freedoms of either in society today? It’s a volatile, passionate issue provoking heated debates causing this pesky saying to rear its ugly head no matter which gender you are or what opinions on the subject you hold. Both sides are guilty of reading between the lines to quickly form judgements on how they feel or react. Anger quickly flares that robs any intelligent person of their reasoning abilities no matter how good you are at controlling your emotions when debating this issue. Hence sometimes we read more into another persons words and jump to conclusions spotting non-existing insults, therefore misunderstanding their original intent due to our passionate opinion. All the blogs I read were very argumentative & defensive regarding their own opinion on this subject. Each had logical points based on fact rather than feeling. Each author made compelling points to sway you towards their logic. Each blogger displayed talented writing. I was astounded to see so many people with such talent. The only thing that grieves me is the lack of tolerance for each other’s differing opinions.
Many years ago, I made my peace with this topic. There is no logical quaint solution and I simply embraced the fact that women and men will always argue equality issues. Oddly enough, you can find a true sense of freedom by being tolerant of the differences and finding wonder in how often we are alike.
Common sense dictates a few facts. Of course I would love equal pay that eludes me in my job. Absolutely I would love to write my novels boldly and not be attack with dated attitudes of sex as well as not having to defend my character simply because I write romantic novels. Who wouldn’t love the stigma of whether you are a “bad” girl or “good” girl in daily conversation with both genders if you happen to engage in flirtation with the opposite sex? The fact is we judge books by their covers/words/actions everyday which leads to an empasse in this debate. If you are judgemental, how can you be open-minded in this area of discussing gender equality to come to a mutual agreement that would bring these issues to a satisfactory conclusion.
On this equality issues, isn’t it disturbing that women often are quicker to judge each other than men? We scream for equal treatment then turn on each other for our actions in public or private. We demand the equal right of salary compensation, but when one of us achieves that very thing, the standard comment comes forth from us that she slept her way to the top. We rejoice in other women’s achievements in society, but we quickly tear them down with their personal lives if we get the opportunity. Is anything really going to change for women if we can’t even demonstrate the ability to be less judgemental among ourselves and more supportive overall as well? Why should men be evolved in their attitudes regarding women when women are just as guilty to quickly add a stereotypical title to one of our own?
I don’t believe that will ever change despite empathetic supporters of women’s rights and freedoms or intolerant bigots determined to undermine all women have accomplished over the years. So all I can do as a woman is patiently wait for attitudes to evolve and embrace all covers to really read what’s inside. You miss the best part if you can’t get past the cover.
Of course, I don’t think I expressed this as well as the others but I am a simple country girl and adore all those colorful covers.

So after two years of research, I decided to start writing. Confident that my ideas were unique, I dived in head first into the creative pool. After a week spending every free minute I had writing, I found myself missing the reading. So I decided to split the time up between the two.
After a year, I was astonished to find I had completed five books. To me, they were rough drafts but still I was stoked. Thinking of creating three different series, I was well on my way.
Unfortunately, I submitted the first three books of my demon series to a couple of publishers and agents. Despite a few reject letters, I signed with an agent. From that came an offer for a five-year contract.
Let me just say it was one of the most life altering events I had experienced so far. Raped, disgusted, jaded, repulsed, livid, and disillusioned are the only words to describe what came out of that situation. So I decided not to attempt publishing due to this experience. I would continue to write the books for me.
I was astonished how much I learned about myself from my writing and my research. One of the most interesting discoveries came from reading books by Joey W Hill. I have a strange quirk that once I discover an author I enjoy, I read everything they write. That quirk lead me to the “Nature of Desire” series by Joey W. Hill.
The stories venture into the world of Submission & Domination. I still have yet to understand which initials to use that represent this scene since that gets confusing. Although most of the kink in these novels didn’t appeal to me, the demonstration of clear communication did. It was amazing to see the intimacy develop between the characters in this type of relationship. Crystal clear communication was required in these relationships which not only blossomed in the bedroom, but spread to every aspect of a couples daily interactions. It truly sparked my interest so I did more research in this world. I have a deeper respect for this community as well as saddened for the type of reception these people receive in society today. Mind you, I have no desire to be strapped to a St. Andrew’s cross and whipped into oblivion, but to experience that type of intimacy from their communication skills; Yes, please!!! As well, I discovered a term, switch, which refers to a person that can be both submissive and dominate depending on mood or partner. A light bulb went off in my head. For years, I’ve struggled to understand the true issues that plague my marriage. This one definition helped me understand the problem between my husband and I. There is no solution to our problem which was freeing as well as led to honest discussion between the both of us. We are the best of friends but now understand the issues of our problems. Since we are divorcing now, we understand the nature of our issues and can dissolve the marriage with no hard feeling or bitter regrets. Amazing what one journey to write can do to your life.

To Be Continued………

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